Update 581


Knowing The Future

On March 16th, 2013, Dave Harris will give the sermon, titled, “Knowing The Future.”

The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org (12:30 pm Pacific Time; 1:30 pm Mountain Time; 2:30 pm Central Time; 3:30 pm Eastern Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.

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by Eric Rank

I recently had an opportunity to take a test for a class that I’m enrolled in. Unlike many of the standard classroom tests that I’ve taken in previous years of schooling, this test was to be completed on my own time and from the comfort of my own home. Take home tests are nothing new, but this one was not a typical take home test either. Normally, a take home test allows the student to use reference material and return the completed test on a later date. This test, however, was timed and entirely submitted online. Another unique constraint about this test was that all outside reference material and assistance was explicitly banned. The notes, digital slides, search engines, and help from my wife or kids were absolutely disallowed while taking the test. The only material that I was allowed access to during the test, were the memories in my head.

Even though there were strict rules of conduct during the period of the test, there were no practical means of enforcing them. It would have been trivially easy and undetectable to cheat on the test. Anyone taking the test from a computer would have plenty of material at his or her fingertips with no marshal to monitor the malfeasance. Yes, I could have cheated and nobody would have known but me. Well, nobody but me and God.

While the honor and expectation of honesty was part of the test, I was mostly motivated to take the test in honesty because God would have known my wrongdoing. I knew that God would have indicted me had I given in to the temptation to use Google to answer my questions. Being right with God is by far more important than getting the answers right on the test. The sin of dishonesty, and everything else that breaks the law of God, is a sin against Him first and foremost. 

The book of Genesis relays a similar story when describing how Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife, who attempted to entice him. At her willful request, Joseph responded by saying, “’ Look, my master does not know what is with me in the house, and he has committed all that he has to my hand. There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’” (Genesis 39:8-9). Joseph had a clear mind, acknowledging that giving in to wrongdoing would be a violation of the trust of his master, but even more, he knew that this carnal sin would be against God.

The loss of our own virtue is something that happens simply and subtly. It happens when we give in, even when we know better. It happens when we convince ourselves that we are justified in taking an action that’s wrong or when we can get away with something without notice. It should be obvious, but it is still important to be reminded that everything that we think is hidden in the dark will come to light (Luke 12:2-3). The secrets we may have, as harmless as they may seem, are marks against us because even the little things are sins against God.

The Passover now approaches, and during this time we must test ourselves to make sure that we are working as hard as we possibly can to live a life according to the pattern of Jesus Christ. All aspects of our own behavior that we tend to overlook need examination and all of the intentions of our heart require cleansing. We have the opportunity right now to judge ourselves before the time comes for our final judgment. Now is the time to study up and prepare to make sure that when our final exam comes, we pass the test.

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We begin with the attention of the world watching all of the ceremonial trappings of the Catholic Church’s choice of a new Pope–more, as magicians might say, so much “Hocus Pocus”–clearly, nothing supported by the biblical example! We cite news of yet another huge settlement for sexual abuse and cover-up by the Catholic Church. North Korea’s stream of threats and the admission that the U.S. is in a “cyber war” are reported.

Hungary’s defiant move into authoritarian rule and Austria’s somber remembrance of Nazi atrocities are also reported.

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Pope Francis

NPR reported on March 13, 2013:

“The new pope, 76-year-old Jorge Bergoglio, the archbishop of Buenos Aires, is the first pontiff from Latin America and the first Jesuit, but he appears to hold views very much in line with his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.

“Bergoglio has chosen the papal name Francis, becoming the 266th to hold the title of spiritual leader of the Catholic Church.

“Catholic News Service calls him an accomplished theologian and says Bergoglio has “written books on spirituality and meditation and has been outspoken against abortion and same-sex marriages.”

“He was born Dec. 17, 1936, in Buenos Aires to Italian parents Mario, a railway worker, and Regina, a housewife, reports Argentina’s La Nacion.”

The New York Times offered their report of the papal election on March 13, 2013:

“With a puff of white smoke from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel and to the cheers of thousands of rain-soaked faithful, a gathering of Catholic cardinals picked a new pope from among their midst on Wednesday — choosing the cardinal from Argentina, the first South American to lead the church.

“The new pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio (pronounced Ber-GOAL-io), will be called Francis, the 266th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. He is also the first non-European pope in more than 1,200 years and the first member of the Jesuit order to lead the church.

“In choosing Francis, 76, who had been the archbishop of Buenos Aires, the cardinals sent a powerful message that the future of the church lies in the global south, home to the bulk of the world’s Catholics…

“’It was like waiting for the birth of a baby, only better,’ said a Roman man, Giuliano Uncini. A child sitting atop his father’s shoulders waved a crucifix.

“Francis is known as a humble man who spoke out for the poor and led an austere life in Buenos Aires. He was born to Italian immigrant parents and was raised in the Argentine capital.

“The new pope inherits a church wrestling with an array of challenges that intensified during his predecessor, Benedict XVI, including a shortage of priests, growing competition from evangelical churches in the Southern Hemisphere, a sexual abuse crisis that has undermined the church’s moral authority in the West and difficulties governing the Vatican itself…

“A doctrinal conservative, Francis has opposed liberation theology, abortion, gay marriage and the ordination of women, standing with his predecessor in holding largely traditional views.” 

The Roman Catholic Church has been fraught with controversy–especially, the actions of gay priests who have abused youth. It has also suffered a loss of attendance and a serious lack of new priests. With worldwide attention now so openly focused on this newly elected pope, the potential for this church to exert greater and greater influence seems a real possibility! We also take note that Pope Francis is the son of Italian parents who immigrated to Argentina, making his selection still closely tied to Italian rule over Rome. Besides his native Spanish, Bergoglio also speaks Italian and German.

The Mystery of Rome!

CNN reported the following on Tuesday, March 12, 2013:

“Moving in solemn procession through rooms rich with painting and history, the Catholic cardinals Tuesday went into the Sistine Chapel, where they will take part in the secret election of a new pope.
“One of their number will almost certainly emerge from the process as the new spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
“Chanting prayers as they walked, the 115 cardinal-electors — those under age 80 who are eligible to vote — made their way slowly from the nearby Pauline Chapel.
“Once they all have entered the Sistine Chapel they will each swear an oath of secrecy. A designated official will then give the order in Latin, ‘Extra omnes’ — that is, ‘Those who are extra, leave.’

 “At this point all those not taking part in the conclave will leave the Sistine Chapel and the doors will be closed.
“From that point on, the only clue the world will have of what is happening inside will be periodic puffs of smoke from a copper chimney installed on the chapel roof over the weekend.
“Black smoke, no pope. White smoke, success.
“Earlier, the scarlet-clad cardinals celebrated a special morning Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica, where they prayed for guidance in making a choice that could be crucial to the future direction of a church rocked by scandal in recent years.”

Reuters, covering this same story, reported on March 12, 2013:

“Red-robed cardinals retreated behind the heavy wooden doors of the Sistine Chapel on Tuesday at the start of a conclave that will elect a new pope to tackle the strife and scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church.

“Latin chants and organ music accompanied the cardinals as they processed into the room, with Michelangelo’s depiction of Christ delivering the Last Judgment on the back wall and his image of the hand of God giving life to Adam on the ceiling.

“Laying their own hands on the Gospels and speaking in Latin, they took a vow of secrecy not to divulge anything about the ballot, which was expected to start with an initial round of voting later in the afternoon.

“No conclave in the modern era has chosen a pope on the first day, and some cardinals speculated earlier this week that it might take up to four or five days to pick the man to replace Pope Benedict, who unexpectedly abdicated last month…

“Earlier, on a day rich in ritual and pageantry, Italian cardinal Angelo Sodano called for unity in the Church, which is beset by sex abuse scandals, bureaucratic infighting, financial difficulties and the rise of secularism.”

There are obvious and unavoidable parallels to be drawn from news reports about this conclave to elect a new pope and what is written in the Book of Revelation concerning a powerful, world-influencing religion. Details about prophesied events concerning this religion and its influence over the governments of Europe can be found in our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy – The Unfolding of End-Time Events.”

The Cost of Catholic Cover-ups

USA Today reported on March 12, 2013:

“The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has agreed to pay four men almost $10 million to settle allegations of sexual abuse by a former priest who more than a quarter century ago had confessed to molesting children, attorneys said Tuesday.

“Two brothers will receive $4 million each, and the other two men will get nearly $1 million apiece, said John Manly, a plaintiff’s attorney.

“The settlement is the first since the Catholic Church released thousands of internal records detailing the actions of the defrocked priest, Michael Baker, and how church officials responded. Baker was convicted in 2007 of child molestation and paroled in 2011.

“In January, as the files were about to be made public, a California judge ordered the archdiocese to identify all priests and church officials named in the documents.

“The confidential files — medical and psychiatric records, abuse reports, church memos and letters with the Vatican — revealed that in 1986, Baker told Cardinal Roger Mahony that he had abused boys beginning in 1974. Mahony removed Baker from [the] ministry and sent him to New Mexico for psychological treatment.

“A year later, however, he returned with a doctor’s recommendation that he not spend any time with minors and that he should be defrocked immediately if he did. Nonetheless, the abuse continued until 2000, when Baker was finally removed.

“Mahony retired as Los Angeles archbishop in 2011. Last month, his successor, Archbishop Jose Gomez, stripped him of his official duties.

“Mahony is in Rome participating in the conclave selecting the next pope. He was aware of the settlement, J. Michael Hennigan, an archdiocese attorney, told the Associated Press.”

While the Catholic Church seems grudgingly willing to pay huge settlements for sexual abuse claims, it doesn’t appear to have treated the crimes all that seriously from within. This and so many other cases by priests who have been guilty of heinous abuses stand is stark contrast to the face that Catholic leadership is trying to present as a new pope is elected.

North Korea On the Brink of War?

Reported by The Australian, March 13, 2013:

“North Korea leader Kim Jong-un has threatened to ‘wipe out’ a South Korean island as Pyongyang came under new economic and diplomatic fire from US sanctions and UN charges of gross rights abuses.

“Military tensions on the Korean peninsula have risen to their highest level for years, with the communist state under the youthful Mr Kim threatening nuclear war in response to UN sanctions imposed after its third atomic test last month.

“It has also announced its unilateral shredding of the 60-year-old Korean War armistice and non-aggression pacts with Seoul in protest at a joint South Korean-US military exercise that began on Monday.
“While most of these statements have been dismissed as rhetorical bluster, the latest threat to the border island of Baengnyeong, which has around 5000 civilian residents, appears credible and carries the weight of precedent.”

The Guardian reported on March 12, 2013:

“State-run television reported mass rallies across North Korea against the US and said Kim Jong-un had told troops to be on ‘maximum alert’ for a potential war. Kim told troops stationed near disputed waters that have been the scene of previous clashes that ‘war can break out right now’.

“Earlier, North Korea threatened to launch a nuclear strike against the US and South Korea. North Korea has blamed Seoul’s joint military exercises this month with the US for the increased tensions. But Washington said Pyongyang is lashing out with ‘belligerent rhetoric’ after the UN security council imposed new sanctions over North Korea’s underground test of a nuclear weapon last month.”

Worldwide Web the New Battlegound!

On March 11, 2013, Euronews wrote:

“America is under cyber attack, and Washington now believes there is evidence that China is officially sponsoring much of it.

“The source of much of the activity is a military building, and not some amateur hacker’s home. Mandiant, a private security firm has traced a wave of cyber attacks to the door of China’s cyber command. The report has rattled Washington, and the IT and intelligence communities are still scrambling for adequate answers.

“On Wednesday the Homeland Security Committee of the US Congress holds a hearing on cyber security, with the fear that World War Three is already underway, via fibre-optic links and secret servers putting vital infrastructure at risk, and stealing valuable secrets…

“As we enter an age of a new kind of warfare, undeclared and with no Geneva Convention regulating its excesses, many fear diplomacy will have little clout in Beijing.”

And from the Los Angeles Times on March 12, 2013:

“Iran has made progress toward developing nuclear weapons capability, Al Qaeda sympathizers are resurgent across North Africa and the Middle East, and the U.S. economy is vulnerable to relatively unsophisticated cyber-attacks, according to America’s top intelligence officer.
“James R. Clapper, director of national intelligence, is set to appear Tuesday morning with other senior U.S. national security officials at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing to deliver their annual assessment of threats around the globe.
“According to a copy of Clapper’s prepared remarks, the danger of cyber-attacks and cyber-espionage on crucial infrastructure tops the list of global threats. As a result, America’s intelligence agencies are reevaluating how they operate.

“’Threats are more diverse, interconnected and viral than at any time in history. Attacks, which might involve cyber and financial weapons, can be deniable and unattributable,’ he says…

“Cyber-espionage is rampant and growing, Clapper acknowledges, and it is damaging American competitiveness: 
“‘Foreign intelligence and security services have penetrated numerous computer networks of U.S. government, business, academic and private sector entities…. This is almost certainly allowing our adversaries to close the technological gap between our respective militaries, slowly neutralizing one of our key advantages in the international arena.'”

No Victory and No Welcome in Afghanistan

NPR wrote on March 10, 2013:

“Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai claims the U.S. is holding talks outside Afghanistan with the Afghan Taliban.

“The allegations come as Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel continues his first visit to the nation as Pentagon Chief – and after a deadly explosion in Kabul on Saturday that the Taliban called a message to the new defense secretary.

“Karzai made his claims in a nationally broadcast address just hours before he was to meet with Hagel, reports NPR’s David Welna, who is traveling with Hagel.

“‘Karzai claimed the U.S. has been meeting daily elsewhere with the Taliban,’ Welna reports. ‘He also accused the U.S. of collaborating with the Taliban to stoke fears about coalition forces pulling out of Afghanistan next year.’

“The Taliban claimed responsibility for a blast outside the Afghan Defense Ministry on Saturday that killed nine people. A second bombing in eastern Khost Province, also on Saturday, killed two police officers and eight children.

“‘The explosions in Kabul and Khost yesterday showed that they are at the service of America and at the service of this phrase: 2014,’ Karzai said. ‘They are trying to frighten us into thinking that if the foreigners are not in Afghanistan, we would be facing these sorts of incidents.'”

More and more, it appears that the war being fought by the U.S. and its allies is destined for abject failure–as even the U.S. selected Hamid Karzai is now openly insulting America’s new Defense Secretary.

Hungary’s Authoritarian Move…

Spiegel Online reported on March 11, 2013:

“As expected, the Hungarian parliament on Monday evening passed a package of constitutional amendments that legal experts say are an affront to democracy. Berlin, Brussels and Washington all voiced their concern in the run up to the vote. Leaders in Budapest, however, were unfazed.

“Hungarian President János Áder arrived in Berlin on Monday for what might look merely like a standard bilateral meeting between two EU leaders. But the relationship between the European Union and Hungary is anything but normal these days. Budapest, after all, bid farewell on Monday to many of the values that define the 27-member club.

“Prime Minster Viktor Orbán, like Áder a member of the conservative Fidesz party, has expanded his power dramatically. While the head of state was in Berlin, the prime minister moved ahead with a highly controversial package of amendments to the country’s constitution. The amendments weaken the country’s constitutional court, the last defender of Hungary’s constitutional state, and they limit the independence of the entire judiciary branch.

“In other words, a country at the center of the European Union is moving away from the principles of freedom, democracy and the rule of law…

“The reforms also write into the constitution certain laws that had previously been overturned and deemed unconstitutional by the high court, making them essentially untouchable.These include a ban on the homeless from loitering in public spaces, and allowance of the state to prosecute them for violations; a ban on electoral campaign advertising in private media; and an exclusion of umarried, childless or same-sex couples in the official definition of family.”

This is a significant stand by Hungarian legislators in rejecting European Union objections. Just how much compliance to European “values” can be extracted from Hungary in the coming weeks and months remains to be seen.

Austria Remembers

The Local wrote on March 12, 2013:

“Austria solemnly marked Tuesday 75 years since German troops crossed the border unopposed on the early hours of March 12, 1938 and ‘annexed’ Adolf Hitler’s homeland into the Third Reich.

“‘Already on the evening of March 11 swastika flags were fluttering over Vienna and other cities, including at police headquarters in Vienna … even though not a single German soldier had yet set foot on Austrian soil,’ President Heinz Fischer said at a ceremony in the capital.
“‘Soon afterwards we were pulled into World War II, with all its consequences, and Austrians were massively involved in the crimes of National Socialism. This all became part of our history, and this is still painful to this day.’
“Three days after the entry of his troops, Hitler gave a speech in Vienna – the city he had left in 1913 as a failed artist – to a jubilant crowd of 250,000 people. A plebiscite soon afterwards sealed the annexation…
“Fischer, who also laid a wreath at a monument to victims of fascism and war, said that the system of Nazi totalitarianism ‘could only come about through the cooperation of fanatics, followers and collaborators, as well as deliberately turning a blind eye.'”

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Would you please elaborate on the ten European revivals of the ancient Roman Empire? (Part 1)

In the books of Daniel and Revelation, four world-ruling empires are described, which have been identified as Babylon (compare Daniel 2:38; 7:17), Medo-Persia (compare Daniel 2:39; 7:17; 8:20), Greece (compare Daniel 2:39; 7:17; 8:21) and Rome (compare Daniel 2:40-43; 7:17). The Roman Empire was to be divided into Eastern and Western Rome, and the Western part would fall (compare Revelation 13:3), but it was to be revived ten times and would endure until the time of Jesus Christ’s return. Proof for these statements can be found in our literature, including our booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.” In that booklet, we also state the following:

“The Roman Empire fell and the world believed it would never rise again (symbolized by the deadly wound). But God revealed through Daniel and through the Apostle John that there would actually be ten revivals of the Roman Empire, nine of which have already occurred.

“After the destruction of Rome, three so-called ‘barbarian’ powers, who were all followers of an unorthodox nominally Christian faction called Arianism, revived the Roman Empire. This happened under King Gaiseric of the Vandals, under King Odoacer of the Heruli, and under King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths. These are the first three horns of the fourth beast that Daniel saw—the first three resurrections of the Roman Empire.

“The fourth resurrection then occurred under Justinian in A.D. 554. At that time, lands of the old West Roman Empire were taken back from the Arian ‘barbarians’ by the Romans of the Eastern Empire under its emperor, Justinian. He also restored the rule of ‘orthodox’ Roman Catholicism to the West. Known in history as the Imperial Restoration, this is understood by many to be the biblical ‘healing of the deadly wound’ the Roman Empire had received from the barbarian powers.

“The fifth resurrection occurred under Charlemagne (Charles the Great) in A.D. 800. The sixth occurred under Otto the Great in A.D. 962. The seventh occurred under Charles V of Hapsburg in 1530, the eighth under Napoleon Bonaparte ruling from 1804 until 1814, and yes, the ninth has also already occurred, under Mussolini and Hitler. Thus, what is happening right now in Europe is the tenth and final resurrection of that same Roman Empire…”

Regarding the ten revivals of the Roman Empire, we stated in “Is That In the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation”:

“According to Daniel 7:24, ten kings were to arise out of the Roman Empire. This could either describe a simultaneous or co-existing one-time revival under the leadership of ten kings, or it could refer to ten successive revivals—one revival following the next over time. Comparing the passage in Daniel 7 with the beast in Revelation 13, and based on what actually occurred historically, we conclude that successive revivals are intended here—the beast or the Roman Empire would have ten successive resurrections or revivals. Revelation 17:8 confirms this—the beast described there, which is similar to the beast of Revelation 13, is described as one that ‘was, and is not, and will ascend…,’ showing the successive nature of the revivals.”

In this new series, we will shed additional light on the ten revivals of the Roman Empire.

The First Revival under King Gaiseric of the Vandals:

What does history tell us about Rome’s first revival under King Gaiseric of the Vandals?

The website of historymedren.about.com states that “Gaiseric was known for: Sacking the city of Rome in 455. As King of the Vandals and the Alans (Alani), Gaiseric [or Genseric] was a significant figure in the final decades of the Western Roman empire, leading his peoples to victory after victory and establishing a reputation as a feared warrior.”

The website of britannica.com adds that “Gaiseric[‘s] most famous exploit… was the capture and plundering of Rome, June 455.”

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, informs us as follows:

“Genseric, whose name means ‘spear-king’, was an illegitimate son of King Godigisel… After his father’s death, Genseric was the second most powerful man among the Vandals, after the new king, his half-brother Gunderic. After Gunderic’s death in 428, Genseric was elected king…

“Taking advantage of a dispute between Boniface, Roman governor of North Africa, and the Roman government, Genseric ferried all 80,000 of his people across to Africa in 429. Once there, he won many battles over the weak and divided Roman defenders and quickly overran the territory now comprising modern Morocco and northern Algeria… The next year, Roman Emperor Valentinian III recognized Genseric as king of the lands he and his men had conquered.

“In 439, after casting a covetous eye on the great city of Carthage for a decade, he took the city, apparently without any fighting. The Romans were caught unaware, and Genseric captured a large part of the western Roman navy docked in the port of Carthage. The Catholic bishop of the city, Quodvultdeus, was exiled to Naples, since Genseric demanded that all his close advisors follow the Arian form of Christianity. Nevertheless, Genseric gave freedom of religion to the Catholics, while insisting that the regime’s elite follow Arianism. The common folk had low taxes under his reign, as most of the tax pressure was on the rich Roman families and the Catholic clergy.

“Added to his own burgeoning fleet, the Kingdom of the Vandals now threatened the Empire for mastery of the western Mediterranean Sea. Carthage, meanwhile, became the new Vandal capital and an enemy of Rome for the first time since the Punic Wars. With the help of their fleet, the Vandals soon subdued Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and the Balearic Islands. Genseric strengthened the Vandal defenses and fleet and regulated the positions of Arians and Catholics. In 442, the Romans acknowledged the Carthaginian conquests, and recognised the Vandal kingdom as an independent country rather than subsidiary to Roman rule. The area in Algeria that had remained for the larger part independent of the Vandals turned from a Roman province into an ally.

“For the next 30 years, Genseric and his soldiers sailed up and down the Mediterranean, living as pirates and raiders. In 455, Roman emperor Valentinian III was murdered on orders of Petronius Maximus, who usurped the throne. Genseric was of the opinion that these acts voided his 442 peace treaty with Valentinian, and on May 31, he and his men landed on Italian soil and marched on Rome, where Pope Leo I implored him not to destroy the ancient city or murder its inhabitants. Genseric agreed and the gates of Rome were thrown open to him and his men…

“In 468, Genseric’s kingdom was the target of the last concerted effort by the two halves of the Roman Empire. They wished to subdue the Vandals and end their pirate raids. Genseric, against long odds, defeated the eastern Roman fleet… The Romans abandoned the campaign and Genseric remained master of the western Mediterranean until his death, ruling from the Strait of Gibraltar all the way to Tripolitania…”

We should take note from the foregoing that for all practical purposes, the Roman Empire had fallen to Genseric who revived it. Genseric was of the Arian faith which was different from the Roman Catholic faith. For instance, the Arians rejected correctly the concept of the Trinity, but they incorrectly rejected the truth of Christ’s divinity. As we saw, Genseric taxed the Roman clergy heavily, and insisted that the elite convert to Arianism. It is obvious that this conflict would have to be resolved somehow. In analyzing the events pertaining to the second revival of the Roman Empire, when the rule was given to King Odoacer of the Heruli, we will see how it was resolved.

The Second Revival under King Odoacer of Heruli

The Wikipedia Encyclopedia writes about King Odoacer:

“Romulus Augustus… was the last Western Roman Emperor, reigning from 31 October 475 until 4 September 476. His deposition by Odoacer traditionally marks the end of the Western Roman Empire, the fall of ancient Rome, and the beginning of the Middle Ages in Western Europe.”

But as we saw, the fall of Rome had occurred much earlier. This conclusion is also supported by the following sources:

The website of reference.com writes:

“Odoacer… deposed Romulus Augustulus, last Roman emperor of the West (until the coronation in 800 of Charlemagne). The date 476 is often accepted as the end of the West Roman Empire. However, Odoacer’s action made little difference in the status of Western Rome, which had long been prey to the barbarian armies; the emperors had been mere puppets.”

The fact that even before the “official” date of Rome’s fall in 476, Rome, for all practical purposes, had already “fallen”, is also stated in “The History of Europe and the Church,” where we read: “In June, 455, Geiseric (Genseric)—the Vandal king of North Africa—occupies Rome… the city of Rome is fast dying… The Empire lives only in a ceremonial sense. The Western emperors are merely puppets of the various Germanic generals…” (Worldwide Church of God, p. 12, copyright 1983).

Regarding Odoacer, the Columbia Encyclopedia states:

“Odoacer… or Odovacar… and his troops were mercenaries in the service of Rome, but in 476 the Heruli revolted and proclaimed Odoacer their king. Odoacer defeated the Roman general Orestes at Piacenza, took Ravenna (the West Roman capital), and deposed Romulus Augustulus … The Roman administration of Italy continued to function under Odoacer, who retained the chief officers of state. In 488, Zeno sent Theodoric the Great, king of the Ostrogoths, into Italy to expel Odoacer. Several times defeated, Odoacer consented (493) to a treaty by which he was to share his authority with Theodoric. Invited to a banquet by Theodoric, Odoacer and his son and chief officers were treacherously assassinated; thus Theodoric made himself master of Italy.”

As we will see, Odoacer was also an Arian, and as such, the conflict between Arianism and Roman Catholicism continued. The Catholic Church waited for the time of Odoacer’s replacement, and Emperor Zeno’s actions and “accomplishments” in this regard found the praise of the papacy. Here is what happened:

The website of nndb.com states:

“Odoacer was forty-two years of age when he… became chief ruler of Italy, and he reigned thirteen years with undisputed sway… In the history of the papacy Odoacer figures as the author of a decree promulgated at the election of Felix II in 483, forbidding the pope to alienate any of the lands or ornaments of the Roman Church, and threatening any pope who should infringe this edict with anathema. This decree was loudly condemned in a synod held by Pope Symmachus (502) as an unwarrantable interference of the civil power with the concerns of the church.”

The website of newadvent.org wrote:

“Following other German tribes the Heruli entered Italy, and their ruler Odoacer… assum[ed] himself the title of King of Italy… When the Emperor Zeno in 477 drove away the usurper and again gained the supremacy, he sent the pope a completely Catholic confession of faith, whereupon Simplicius (9 Oct., 477) congratulated him on his restoration to power and exhorted him to ascribe the victory to God, who wished in this way to restore liberty to the Church.”

The New International Encyclopedia, Vol. XVII writes about Odoacer:

“In matters of religion, though Arian himself, he acted with great impartiality; nevertheless he was intensely hated by the native Italians. The success of Odoacer excited the jealousy and alarm of Zero, the emperor of the East, who encouraged the Ostrogoth King Theodoric… to undertake an expedition against Italy, hoping at the same time to get rid of the Goths, who were a menace to Constantinople.”

With the assassination of Odoacer, the second (Arian) revival of Rome ended, giving way to the third revival under King Theodoric of the Ostrogoths.

(To Be Continued)

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock

Passover Services will be observed Sunday evening, March 24, 2013, after sunset; the following evening is the Night To Be Much Observed, which is the beginning of the First Day of Unleavened Bread (Tuesday, March 26th). The last Holy Day of Unleavened Bread will be observed on Monday, April 1st. We invite our readers to explore the rich library of Q&A’s, Booklets and sermons about God’s Holy Days–available at www.eternalgod.org.

The sermon, “Christ’s First Coming—Part 2,” given by Norbert Link this past Sabbath is now posted. Here is a summary:

In what year did Jesus give His famous Olivet prophecy? Did He warn His disciples of a falling away from the truth just prior to His return? How can we have confidence and assurance for us and our children in light of the terrible times ahead of us? How often was Christ anointed before His death? When exactly did Jesus introduce the new Passover symbols of foot washing, bread and wine? In what year and on what day did Jesus die? How long was He buried and dead in the grave? Did He fulfill the sign that would prove that He was the Messiah? When exactly was He resurrected? When did He ascend to heaven to receive authority and power?

Norbert and Johanna Link wish to thank you for your continued prayers during their trip to Germany. After being stuck at the San Diego airport for three hours, (no explanation given, but the scheduled plane never arrived at the airport) they were able to fly with another plane to LAX, but almost missed the connecting flight to Frankfurt. Fortunately, the airline waited for them before take-off, even though they had only 10 minutes to get through security and to the gate.  They were told that if they missed the flight, they could take another one in the evening, but as it turned out, they would not have been able to, since the Frankfurt airport closed down due to bad weather in Germany. It is obvious that Satan was very busy trying to prevent them from flying into Germany, but God is mightier than Satan and saw to it that they were still able to go. Interestingly enough, Johanna was inspired to have the boarding passes printed ahead of time from the Internet; otherwise, they would not have been able to get through security in LA and would have missed the flight for sure.

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How This Work is Financed

This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.

Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson

Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank

Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.

While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.

Donations should be sent to the following addresses:

United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198

Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0

United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom

©2024 Church of the Eternal God